Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
Oct 28, 2014
When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.
Buying tires at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster is a lot like buying shoes, except that Lancaster vehicles don't have changeable apparel and don't need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of crazy California road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.
Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Lancaster drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around California need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough California mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.
The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the market, although prices don't vary much from brand to brand.
Tire chain stores in Lancaster often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in the Lancaster area are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don't hesitate to ask your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley tire professional who makes their private brand.
The cheapest tires on the California tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don't have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, you get what you pay for.
At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40,000 mile/65,000 km tire,” or a "60,000 mile/100,000 km tire." This refers to the number of miles/kilometers a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.
Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you're really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It's always better to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.
That said, if you're driving on Tier 3 tires, it's a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That's the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Lancaster area drivers.
So, some good auto advice would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you'll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there's some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won't have to purchase tires as often.
Good vehicle care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.
Exhaust Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Passing the Smell Test
Oct 23, 2014
The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most Lancaster residents realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All California folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That's why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so important. We can help you with that at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.
The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.
One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it and you will die.
To keep this gas and others from entering your vehicle passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for cracks and to check if they have come loose.
The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.
The catalytic converter is the next component in your vehicle exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You'll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn't require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.
The muffler's job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter's. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most Lancaster residents don't realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in Lancaster with a sassy rumble.
Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn't mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.
The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your vehicle engine running smoothly and maintains good fuel economy. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your vehicle healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.
The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the vehicle, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn't. If you don't inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.
You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your vehicle owner's manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.
Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it's good health advice for all Lancaster residents and their families.
The The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley Guide to Custom Wheels
Oct 17, 2014
If you're interested in customizing the wheels and tires on your vehicle, there are a few things you should know first.
Most importantly, the wheels you buy need to fit your vehicle. Not all wheels are created equal. Too many Lancaster drivers have bought a set of wheels that caught their eye, then, after going to the work of mounting them, have found that the wheels don't fit right and the tires rub against the vehicle when they turn or go over a bump.
To ensure a proper fit, you can consult with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley tire professional. He/she can also help you find tires that are suited to your driving habits as well as your vehicle. You may find their auto advice invaluable, and you'll probably be happier with your new wheels once you purchase them.
But if you just have to have that set of wheels, and you're willing to pay for them, you can modify your vehicle to fit the wheels. Again, you should seek a knowledgeable professional's help ahead of time. For example, if you want a bigger set of wheels on your pickup truck, you can get a suspension lift so they will fit the truck. A professional Lancaster custom wheel shop, like The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, can help you get the work done right.
The anti-lock brakes and stability control system on your vehicle are engineered to work with a particular height of tire. This is another reason you should be careful when purchasing custom wheels in Lancaster. The new wheel and tire combo needs to match the height of the tires that came with your vehicle.
Your car's computer gauges your speed by the revolution of your tires and sends commands to the brakes and traction control based on that speed. If you put larger or smaller tires on your vehicle, your computer is calculating the wrong speed and, consequently, sending incorrect commands to the brakes and traction control. This can have serious consequences as it may result in damage to your vehicle or, worse, an accident.
If you change the size of your wheels, you need to get your engine's computer reprogrammed at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley to accommodate the new tire size. New wheels shouldn't just fit your vehicle, they should also fit your lifestyle. There are hundreds of styles and sizes to choose from. You should do a little research about which wheels and tires will best fit your personality, give you the performance you want and meet your handling needs. We're not saying you shouldn't personalize your ride, we just want you to be happy with the result. Talk to us at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster.
After all, good vehicle care isn't just about preventive maintenance. It's also about making good choices.
Cool Breeze: Air Conditioning Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster
Oct 07, 2014
Most California auto owners know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.
Why is it important for Lancaster area drivers to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.
Lancaster folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won't know the system is sick until it actually dies. So good vehicle care includes regularly checking the refrigerant and lubricant in your vehicle air conditioning system and replacing it if needed.
The second reason your air conditioning system needs preventive maintenance is that air and water can get into the system. Air, water and the contaminants they contain will reduce the efficiencyof the air conditioning system and can cause corrosion of the system's parts. Keeping the air conditioning system clean is a practice that will extend its life and keep you from losing your cool on hot Lancaster days.
How often should you get a routine car air conditioner inspection? It varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner's manual for the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation.
Here's a good piece of advice from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for California vehicle owners that will extend the life of their air conditioning systems: You should run your air conditioner in the winter every once in a while. This circulates the refrigerant, which lubricates the seals. That way, they won't dry out during cold Lancaster weather.